Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Exercise in Time Management

You know, my life has been taken over by things that I basically have to do. I don’t like feeling like I’m not in control of how I spend my time.

At work, as a teacher, my life is controlled in part by testing. What days do I have testing? What can I teach them to prepare for testing? What can I do before and after testing dates to keep things connected still? When will I start being evaluated based on my students’ test scores? I am controlled in how I plan lessons, what I write on my board, meetings I attend, and (pretty soon) how many copies I can make.

I am controlled at my second job, which is as an independent SEO contractor/writer. My friend got me the job well over a year and a half ago. It has been an immense help when I have needed some extra cash. I loved it and loved being able to count on it. It was easy, not very time consuming, and reliable for some money. However, things have gotten more than frustrating lately. We writers have recently gotten 3-4 emails a day with “updated requirements,” and attached files to replace the ones attached in previous emails. It’s just a lot to keep track of and try to figure out. We had to move over to a new software/filtering system where we find and upload our articles. They raised the writing demands from no minimum to a minimum of ten articles per week (note: about 10 hours of work). We can no longer write articles that are due later if there are overdue ones still unwritten. We also have to meet quality content requirements of 85% or higher (my two that got reviewed were 90 and above).

Can I also add that the people who “edited” mine made some incorrect “corrections” on my articles? While I know I don’t know everything, I am confident in the things that I know for sure. I know commas, for instance. I don’t appreciate people adding commas into my work when I know they are not needed and when I can explain exactly why. I also don’t appreciate stylistic changes being made to my work. When I say that something can “afford you the opportunity,” and you replace it with “provide you with the opportunity,” I am more than a little bit annoyed at you. What I wrote was perfectly correct and commonplace. Look it up in a thesaurus. Let it be known that I am fully open to corrections and suggestions, but not without some explanation or justification, especially when I totally disagree with what’s been changed.

On top of the new requirements, new article minimums, and limited options in what we write, they are taking forever to pay me. For example, the last pay period ended on September 15. It is September 25, and I still don’t have a check. I’ve checked the mail religiously. Also please note that I made a purchase last week at Wal-Mart on things that could have waited had I known that a check was not coming anytime soon. My spending decisions are dependent on the work I know I’ve done, and the payment I expect to receive. I used to get my check on the Tuesday following the end of the pay period on Friday. We’re looking at almost two weeks now. Does this seem completely unethical and unfair to anybody else? You require more of me, but you don’t hold up your end of the deal? Wow.

So my typical day for the past several weeks consists of teaching all day, 30-60 minutes at the gym, writing two articles (which takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours, give or take), eating dinner in between, showering, reading, and going to bed. I love exercising and find that I am rather unhappy without including it in my day, and I view it as a smart use of my “me time.” But when I’m done teaching and done working out, I don’t want to come home and be required to do more work that I’m not going to get paid for, which is what I’ve been doing. What. The. Heck!?

Wednesdays are even worse because I have institute from 7 to 8:30. So something always has to go on that day, be it the gym (my “me time”), or my article writing (which I have to do).

I do have some things to look forward to, but the more I add to my schedule, even if it’s for fun, the more stressed I am about how I will keep my sanity and get my articles written! For instance, institute tomorrow, some modernized version of Cinderella with Rachel on Thursday, and a Central Utah Writing Project Reunion/Retreat overnighter this coming Friday and Saturday. Yep. I have something every day this week. I’m not exactly sure how to manage it all or what will get ousted as a result of my busyness.

But I do know that I need to take a breather. So I am going to go shower and then maybe watch an episode of Dexter with Raytch.

Good BYE! 

No comments: